A Dog's Forever Loved Journey
Every Forever Loved rescue dog is wonderfully unique, and each dog’s journey with us is unique, too. No matter their different needs or backgrounds, every FLPS dog benefits from the dedication and kindness of our wonderful volunteers.
Sandy Lentz, FLPS adoption coordinator explains the typical experience of an FLPS dog, from initial contact to adoption:
1. Initial contact
We first learn of a senior dog needing a home in a variety of ways. Sometimes a shelter or individual contacts us. Other times we may see a senior dog posted online.
2. Assessment of dog
If possible, we first conduct a phone interview. Next, we travel to see the dog and conduct an assessment. One of our biggest concerns is safety, so we check the dog’s reactions to actions like touching their paws, pulling their tail (not hard of course!), and looking in their mouth. If the dog passes, we will take the dog back to the sanctuary.
3. Joining the FLPS family
Once at the sanctuary, the dog receives an FLPS ID number, tag, and usually a new collar. We check for a microchip and start a new file in our database with any background information.
We have a clean, sanitized kennel ready, and we do our best to help the dog get comfortable. Every dog’s reaction is different the next few days, says Sandy. Some may experience a little sadness or confusion, while some are just happy to be inside.
4. Medical care
Next it’s time for an initial vet visit. Of course if we can get it, we rely on the dogs’ past medical history, but that’s not always available. Every dog is different, but we spend roughly $800-1,000 per dog on medical fees. Almost all dogs need dental work, and some need spaying or neutering.
Dr. Bob of All Creatures Animal Clinic conducts a thorough examination of our dogs, vaccinates them, and does a complete bloodwork analysis that includes Valley fever, tick fever, and heartworm testing. Obtaining this bloodwork sets us apart from other rescues. As Angela Heckler, our Director of Fundraising, explained in a previous blog post, “We want our dogs healthy when you adopt them. We don’t want to give you a ‘to-do.’"
5. Recovery & getting acquainted
Our dogs normally spend about two weeks at the sanctuary before they are available for adoption, and/or before going into foster care. At the sanctuary, they can recuperate from any medical procedures. Meanwhile, volunteers can learn about the dogs’ behaviors, which helps us place them with fosters who are a good fit.
6. Foster care
Our fosters are an invaluable resource. They supply a loving home, and they also provide training and reinforce good behavior. Dogs may, for example, need help with using a doggy door or walking on a leash. Sandy mentions that of course we are not looking for perfection, but would like our dogs to know good manners.
Fosters keep notes on the dogs and report back to us. We input this information into our database.
Sandy emphasizes that we do not rush to adopt. When the dog is fully recovered from any medical issues (barring a special circumstance) and is otherwise ready, we will post a description about the dog on our website, Petfinder, and Adopt-a-Pet. Because they have shared their home with the dog, our fosters can provide helpful, accurate information for the write-up.
The response to each dog is different but generally, small dogs and those that are said to be hypoallergenic, tend to get adopted fastest. Sandy fields calls and reviews applications, following a first-come, first-served policy. She is steadfast in her goal to find the best home for the dog.
To that end, Sandy first conducts a phone interview and then a home visit. She says in all her years, not one applicant has balked at a home visit. Sandy is quick to point out such visits are absolutely not a cleaning inspection, but rather a check to make sure the dog would be safe, and any resident dogs are compatible.
If everything passes muster, she will process the paperwork for the adoption, collect fees, and hand over our information related to the dog, including any available medical information.
8. Beyond adoption
Sandy always checks on families two days after adoption. She stresses that while we hope an adoption is forever, if it can’t be, Forever Loved must always be the fallback. “It’s important adopters remember this. I know things come up in people’s lives. If that does happen, we want the dog back.”
After a two-week trial adoption period, if things are still going well, the dog is officially adopted! We celebrate, and it’s back to finding homes for other amazing senior dogs.
Thank you to Sandy, our fosters, and all our volunteers — all of whom work so hard to ensure our Forever Loved dogs can find loving homes.